I was desperate to win the toss in our last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. We wanted to continue the pattern of chasing, and with rain in the Kolkata air, wanted to be on the right side of the Duckworth-Lewis method. Such was my anxiety that I tried to trick David Warner by concealing the coin! I hope you know what I mean. There is a general belief that if you flip the coin with ‘heads’ on top it will land ‘tails’ and vice-versa. I don’t know if science endorses this theory, but I can tell you there are many cricketers I know who swear by it.
So, here I was loaded with this theory and edgy for a berth in the play-offs ready to flip the coin. Well, almost. I thought I had flipped the coin in the air but in the desperation to conceal it from Warner, I had dropped it. I was embarrassed and promptly gave up the idea of being cheeky. Once again, I lost the toss and KKR was put into bat. A bad start, I thought, but that notion was immediately dumped. I summoned the words of my mom. Very early in my life, she gave me a lesson. She’d say it’s not about how you start but about how you finish. And KKR finished really well, beating Hyderabad to earn the right to be in the playoffs.
Before I go on to put into perspective the innings played by Yusuf Pathan, let me share something. I was extremely pleased with the way young Kuldeep Yadav bowled. He is in the tough business of bowling chinaman. Unlike orthodox spinners, his margin of error is pretty slim. Bowling left-arm chinaman seems like bragging about newly-learnt amateur magical tricks at a family get-together. They look brilliant when they come off, but it can get awfully embarrassing if they don’t. On Sunday, Kuldeep’s tricks came off. I was happy to see that a young Indian spinner had the courage to flight the ball. This was only his second game of this season, but I have never seen him sulk about not getting a game.
Once again, Yusuf put his mature head down and took us to a winning total. I am proud of my man. People keep asking me what has changed in him. The earlier Yusuf was bang, bang, and a little more bang. The latest Yusuf is block, bang, bang, and if need be one more bang. Or otherwise, he will happily settle for a block. Besides, he is admirably fit as can be seen from his running between the wickets. The other big moment was when Sunil Narine got past Warner. People have different theories about him, but to me his control is his biggest strength.
We are leaving for Delhi in batches. I am told it is raining in the Capital and the temperature has dipped to a pleasant mid-30s. I don’t know the forecast for Wednesday, but once again it will be a desperate bid to win the toss, rain or sunshine. This being a playoff at a neutral venue, I am not sure who will flip the coin. Whatever happens, I will be up and about with my cheeky little things at the toss, whether I am flipping the coin or calling heads or tails. I am a desperate captain.
Dinesh Chopra Media
The writer is KKR skipper